As I have mentioned in my latest post under My American Moments, our first PM and our founding father has passed away on 23 March. Ever since then, I have been hungry for any information about Mr Lee, his history and his family.
While reading an excerpt from Mr Lee's sister Mrs Monica Lee, 85, she mentioned that Mr Lee, being of Peranakan (or Straits Chinese) origin, had loved Gado Gado, Rojak, Satay and Mee Siam. These are just some of our well loved local dishes in Singapore and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
I made Gado Gado today as a special tribute to Mr Lee.
Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad of blanched vegetables served with peanut sauce. It is eaten as a complete meal because the rice cakes (Lontong) and Potato cubes provide the carbs while the tofu, eggs and peanuts the protein. You can omit the eggs if you prefer a vegan Gado Gado. Can be devoured either cold or warm but I personally prefer warm.
Ingredients for Gado Gado Peanut Sauce
1 cup peanuts roasted
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. brown sugar ( or to your discretion)
1 bird's eye chilli (Chilli Padi) ( More if you prefer spicier)
1 tbsp. tamarind extract (from 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 cup water
salt to taste per preference
Method for Peanut Sauce
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend till smooth or a little crunchy, whichever style you prefer. I left mine a little crunchy for the bite.
Ingredients for Gado Gado Salad
2 medium sized potatoes cut or 8 baby potatoes, boiled
2 eggs, boiled and cut half
2 cups Beansprouts, blanched in hot water for 1 minute
3 Long beans, cut into 2 inch long and boiled in water for 3 minutes.
2 small blocks of firm tofu, cut into cubes and pan grilled.
1/2 cup rice boiled very soft and pressed into square container and then cut into cubes.
To serve Gado Gado, assemble all the boiled vegetables, eggs and grilled tofu on a plate. You can either pour the peanut sauce over or serve it nearby in a small bowl with the rice cubes.
Cabbage, Spinach or French Beans can be used instead of the above vegs too.
Gado Gado is usually served with Vegetable or Melinjo Crackers too, which I didn't have at this moment.
Ginger has such wonderful health properties. I can't emphasize enough. It can soothe a sore throat, helps in controlling flatulence ( gassy stomach), reduce inflammation in your intestines, boosts your immunity.... and so on...
Instead of my usual use of garlic in fried rice, I thought I should try ginger to find out how it turns out....
It turned out pretty well, I must say. The green chilli sauce as a side added oomph!!
Ingredients for Fried Rice ( serves 4)
1.5 cups Jasmine Rice cooked with Vegetable Stock for extra flavor and cooled. ( See Note)
2 tbsps good quality veg oil
1 large yellow onion sliced
4 inch ginger, pounded
1/2 green chilli ( optional if you prefer less spicy)
2 tbsps Sambal Oelek / chilli paste - again adjust according to your chilli preference (See Note)
1 tbsp mushroom seasoning
1 firm tofu cut into big cubes
20 Snap peas cut into two
2 small carrots sliced
Light soy sauce
Chopped scallions for garnish
Ingredients for Green chili sauce
2 Small green/ red chillies - sliced thinly
2 tbsps light soy sauce
Method for Fried Rice
Heat a pot and add in the oil. When it is warm enough, add the sliced onions and fry for 2 mins.
Add in the pounded ginger and chilli and fry further for another 2 mins.
Sambal oelek and mushroom seasoning will follow next. Fry for 2-3 mins.
Add in the vegs and tofu and let the seasonings coat these ingredients. Let it simmer till the vegs are cooked.
Put the cooked rice and soy sauce in now.
Taste the fried rice for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
Serve warm garnished with scallions accompanied by the chilli sauce on the side for extra heat.
For the green chilli sauce, combine both in a small bowl.
Recipe for the Vegetable Stock and Sambal Oelek can be found under Basics in Categories
Mushroom Seasoning and Sambal Oelek can be found in any Asian Stores.
Some days, you have so much going on. You just want to sit back, put your feet up and read your magazines or watch TV. And you don't want to worry about what to make for lunch or dinner. Hey - we are all hardworking moms ok! We need our ' Me Time' too!! This is what I make sometimes when I feel like that. ( lately, it seems most times!!)
This recipe is originally my mom's. I grew up having this for dinner. When I cooked this dish for Anand, my husband, he got put off by the strong cinnamon and ginger garlic combination.
Even last night when I made it for dinner, he twitched his nose and complained about this Indian Macaroni. He still can't take the pungent smell. Well I am not giving it up anytime soon!!
I have omitted the cinnamon stick to give a less overpowering smell and taste to this dish.
Ingredients ( serves 2)
2 cups shell macaronis, boiled al dente
2 tbsps. canola or any good veg oil
1 medium onion, cut big
1/2 green chilli, cut big ( optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp chilli powder
150g (4 oz) Tomato sauce
1/2 cup mixed vegs, boiled ( carrots, peas, beans, potatoes)
Salt & pepper to season
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Grind the big cut onion pieces and the chilli, if you are using, to a paste. Set aside.
Heat a pot with canola oil and fry the chopped onion for 2 mins.
Add in the ginger garlic paste and fry it further.
Then, add in the onion (and chilli) paste.
Add in the chilli powder. Sauté further.
Pour in the tomato sauce and mixed vegs. Add in salt and let the mixture boil.
After 5 mins, add in the cooked macaroni and give it a good mix till well coated with the sauce.
Serve warm garnished with coriander leaves and sprouted moong salad for protein.
Anyone who loves peanuts would go nuts over this fried rice! It's chewy in texture and tastes even better the next day.
Peanuts add protein to this dish. Grilled tofus can be added to add even more protein.
Ingredients ( Serves 3 as a main dish)
1 cup Jasmine Rice, cooked
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked ( See Note 1)
2 tbsps canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sambal oelek ( chilli paste) ( See Note 2)
1 tsp mushroom seasoning
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
2 small carrots sliced thin
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
Light soy sauce ( See note 3)
Extra coriander leaves for garnishing.
Heat a pot with the canola oil.
Fry the onion and then the garlic till golden brown.
Add in the mushroom seasonings and sambal oelek.
Fry for 2 mins and then add the carrots and celery. Let cook for 3-5 mins.
Add in the rice, nuts, coriander leaves and soy sauce to season. Combine well.
Serve warm garnished with coriander leaves.
1) Add the brown rice for that extra health punch. White Jasmine goes well on its own too. Just remember to cook both types of rice a little firm so it helps in the mixing. Otherwise, it will get all mashed up and end up looking like porridge!
2) You can omit the chilli paste if you prefer a less spicy dish.
3) I leave the amount of soy sauce to your preference.
Whoever prayed for snow, enough already! Why not bring the much awaited spring to our kitchen by making warm comfy Mushroom Risotto? That's what I did last night.
I had my first taste of risotto when my husband, Anand and I were in Brussels, Belgium during his work stint in Europe in 2001. We had just got married at the beginning of the previous year. So it was just the two of us.
Anyway, we chanced upon this fancy Italian Restaurant while driving around. It was an isolated restaurant in the middle of nowhere and the roads were empty probably because of the weather. I remember the evening clearly - it was a cold Jan evening and while we were sitting in that cosy dimly lit restaurant waiting for our dinner, rain was pouring down from the awning outside...
When the waiter served the steaming Mushroom Risotto on a large white plate it looked similar to a rice porridge. I was skeptical about its taste. Alas, looks can be deceiving. When I savored my first spoonful, it was simply heaven. I loved its creamy rich flavor and when it landed in my tummy it felt so warm and comfortable. How was it that I had not tasted this incredibly delicious food before? We actually ordered the same dish again because it was so delicious! It has become one of my favorite Italian dish ever since.
Mushroom Risotto has a chance of becoming heavy and creamy if the right ingredients and the right techniques are not used. Though it might seem time consuming ( because it requires constant stirring while pouring in the stock), it is well worth the effort and time.
This is the recipe for authentic Italian style Mushroom Risotto cooked skinny.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
3 tbsps olive oil ( 2 tbsps for cooking the mushrooms and 1 tbsp for cooking the rice)
2 portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly (See Note 1)
8 button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1.5 cups Arborio Rice (See Note 2)
6 cups Fat Free Vegetable Stock, warmed (See Note 3)
4 tbsps light olive oil butter
1/3 cup Light Parmesan Cheese
Salt for taste
Warm 2 tbsps of olive oil in a big pot and put in all the mushrooms, 2 pinches of salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Keep the mushrooms and its liquid aside.
Warm another tbsp of olive oil in the same pot and add in the chopped onions and fry for 2 mins. Put the Arborio rice into the pot and let the oil coat all the rice grains for another 2 mins. Season with salt sparingly (See Note 4)
Start adding in the stock slowly. Only 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constantly tilll the stock is absorbed by the rice grains and then add the next 1/2 cup. It's tedious but the stock has to be absorbed evenly. This whole process of the stock being absorbed will take 20-25 mins. That's right - 25 mins. (I can hear you going 'what?! ')
When the last 1/2 cup has been absorbed, reduce the fire to its lowest. Add in the mushroom and its liquid, light butter and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Check for seasonings.
Remove from fire and serve immediately garnished with parsley flakes. Any risotto is best eaten when it has just been cooked. A simple garden salad will suffice as a side dish.
1) You can substitute the mushrooms with asparagus as well.
2) Arboria Rice is the special rice used for cooking risotto. It is readily available in many grocery stores.
3) You can make your own veg stock. Look out for the recipe in my earlier posts.
4)Watch out for salt when adding during the cooking because Parmesan Cheese has sodium as well.
5) Risottos are very suitable for those who have a sensitive tummy( ie nothing fiery) and need to be on a bland diet.
I had button mushrooms leftover after cooking Mushroom Risotto last night. Scoured through my very own Tried and Tested Recipe Book 1 (TTRB1) and came across this easy recipe using leftover rice and mushrooms. It's actually very simple to cook when you are in a hurry.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
1.5 cups Jasmine Rice cooked rather bitey not overcooked. ( See Note 1)
2 tbsp any good quality veg oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
8 button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly.
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin short strips ( See Note 2)
1/2 cup baby peas
Light soy sauce and pepper for seasoning
Heat a big pot and start frying the chopped onion in oil.
Add the sliced mushrooms, bell pepper and peas. Let it cook for 5-10mins.
Season with 1 tbsp soy sauce and a dash of pepper.
Put in the rice, let the seasonings coat the rice and vegs.
Check for seasoning and serve hot with a tomato based curry.
1) Basmati Rice can also be substituted with Jssmine Rice. Cook as usual. Leftover rice is even better.
2) Red bell pepper adds color to this dish. But you can use any other color of bell pepper as well.
I am using a whole wheat base here for the pizza. You can buy a ready made one from your grocery store but if you are not hot about the preservatives, you can create your own base using the recipe below. This pizza requires a bit more effort and time but I assure you it is all worth every effort you put in. The recipe below yields a 12 inch round pizza.
WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH
Ingredients ( Pizza Dough)
1/2 tsp white sugar
3/4 cup warm water ( 110 deg F or 45 deg C)
1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Some extra all purpose flour for dusting rolling board
Method ( Pizza Dough)
Place the warm water in a bowl and dissolve the sugar in it.
Then sprinkle the yeast on the top but do not stir. Leave it to get foamy for about 10 mins.
After 10 mins, add in the salt and olive oil and stir.
Add in both the flour and mix for a few minutes. You would have got a ball of dough by now.
Remove this dough and place it on a floured rolling board. Knead to form a smooth dough. Add in a little olive oil or extra flour to help.
Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a loose towel and let it rise for around 2 hours near a warm place.
In the meantime, prepare the toppings.
BOSCAIOLA PIZZA TOPPINGS
Ingredients ( Toppings)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
5 cups Spinach, washed
4/5 button mushrooms, washed, dried and then sliced
Salt to season
75 g Fontina Cheese, sliced thinly ( Provolone will do too)
Powdered Parmesan Cheese for garnish
Method ( Toppings)
Take a sauce pan and heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in it. Fry 2 minced garlic cloves till slightly brown, put in the spinach , add a pinch of salt and cook till it wilts. Set aside.
Take the same saucepan and heat the other tbsp of olive oil in it. Fry the other 2 minced garlic cloves again till slightly brown and then put the sliced mushrooms, a pinch of salt and fry till the mushroom slices are cooked and water has all evaporated. Set aside.
Slice the Fontina cheese and set aside.
After 2 hours, preheat the oven to 425 deg F or 220 deg C.
Roll out the dough on a floured board till it stretches very thin. Then, arrange the cooked spinach and mushrooms till it covers the entire base.
Arrange the sliced Fontina Cheese systemically. Sprinkle a little powdered Parmesan Cheese on the top and bake on a well oiled pizza tray for 15-20 mins till the cheese melts and the dough browns at the edges.
Enjoy warm with red chilli flakes or on its own.
Idlis or steamed rice cakes are by themselves quite healthy because firstly, they are steamed. Secondly, they are made by grinding soaked rice and lentils and then left overnight to fermentate. The fermentation process ups their nutrition even more. It produces lactic - acid producing bacteria or lactobacilli which aids digestability and Increases their vitamin levels. I tweaked the basic lentil and substituted it with lentils with skin. Like in the photo below. Doesn't that increase the fibre of these rice cakes as well? I have read that you can even add in oats and other dry grains too.
These cakes are eaten for breakfast or dinner or sometimes even during lunch. It's a very light dish. Anand ate 6 all at one sitting! Accompanied by coriander chutney or Podi.
Ingredients (20 standard size Idlis)
1 cup Idli Rice (available in Indian Grocery Stores)
1/2 cup Urad Dal with Skin
2 tbsp. beaten rice flakes
1 tbsp. cooked rice
1/2 tsp Yeast
Wash and soak the rice separately in a bowl and the urad dal with the beaten rice flakes in another bowl around 9 am in the morning.
Around 8 at night, grind them separately. Soaked rice with a tbsp. of cooked rice and urad dal with beaten rice. Place the rice batter and the urad dal batter in a big metal bowl and mix in the yeast.
Stir and leave in a warm area to fermentate overnight.
The next morning, mix in the salt and steam in a n Idli Steamer for 20 mins.
Serve hot with Coconut Chutey, Sambar or Podi.
Kitcheri is essentially a breakfast dish served in many Indian households. Because of the lentils cooked together with the rice, Kitcheri makes a wholesome breakfast.
This is one of my daughter Riya's fav dish. We can make it healthier by serving it with boiled eggs or spicy garbanzo beans or any other tomato based curry.. Amp up the nutrition, guys!
Ingredients (serves 4)
1.5 cups of rice (white/brown)
0.5 cup orange lentils (masoor dhall)
0.5 cup green peas
2 tbsp any good quality veg oil
2 tbsp. curry powder
0.5 cup chopped coriander leaves
Cook the rice, lentils and peas in your rice cooker. It is important that the rice is not mushy-so cook with less water. Set aside to cool.
In a big pot, add the oil and let it heat up. Add the curry powder, chopped coriander leaves and salt.
Add in the cooked rice and lentils into pot and combine well.
Serve warm for breakfast, lunch or dinner.